This book reassesses the apparent collapse of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, through explicit reference to the archaeological record, rather than focusing solely upon textual sources which have been overly relied upon in previous studies.
This book reassesses the apparent collapse of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, through explicit reference to the archaeological record. The study of Anuradhapura’s terminal period has long been dominated by an over-reliance upon textual sources, resulting in the establishment of a monocausal and politically charged narrative that depicts a violent eleventh century invasion by the South Indian Chola Empire as the primary cause of Anuradhapura’s collapse, bringing to an end over a millennium of rule from Sri Lanka’s first capital. Such is the dominance of this narrative that few alternative explanations for the abandonment of Anuradhapura have ever been posited, with just two alternative models ever described; epidemic malaria, and an imperial economic model. Synthesising and analysing archaeological data from over a century of investigation, this book first tests whether or not Anuradhapura can truly be said to have “collapsed” at all, before moving on to then test the existing explanations for this apparent collapse through reference to the physical archaeological record of Anuradhapura, before finally proposing a new synthetic model for the polity’s collapse.
Preface; Chapter 1: Introduction; Chapter 2: Anuradhapura: Geography, Environment and History of Research; Chapter 3: Collapse; Chapter 4: Methodology; Chapter 5: The Citadel; Chapter 6: The Sacred City; Chapter 7: The Hinterland; Chapter 8: The Discussion; Chapter 9: Conclusion
About the Author
Keir is a lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and History at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. After completing his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Bradford, Keir spent several years working in the British commercial archaeological sector – working on sites of every possible period across the UK and Ireland. However, after bailing out yet another near frozen trench he decided to return to academia, where it was warmer and there were chairs. Following an immensely enjoyable fellowship at the Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.), several field seasons spent crawling through dense jungle, and one unfortunate incident with a dugout canoe in a crocodile infested lake, he received his PhD from Durham University for an examination of the collapse of the Anuradhapura Kingdom, Sri Lanka. He subsequently worked as a lecturer at the Archaeology Institute of the University of the Highlands and Islands in Orkney for several years, before joining La Trobe University in 2016. In addition to his work in Sri Lanka, and his commercial sector work, he has also excavated on sites across Nepal, Iran, Belize, and the Scottish Highlands and Islands. When not teaching, excavating, or falling out of canoes he enjoys sunshine, rum, and baseball.